If you're thinking of buying a bike or expensive bike parts online, read this. Sideburn reader John from London, learnt the hard way. To be clear - this is NOTHING to do with Ron Wood Racing.
On taking advice I decided on a Wood Rotax chassis of which there are about 500 in the world. I placed a 'Wanted' ad in vft.org and flattrack.com and waited.
The replies came in pretty quickly, I was offered complete bikes and various chassis most of which were not Wood at all. I am indebted to Elliott at Ron Wood Racing for helping me with the identification.
Then came a response from Spain, a complete Wood Rotax with photo which Elliott identified easily as a unique Wood. The guy was breaking the bike and still had the chassis, forks and wheels. Sounded the answer to my prayers so I duly paid money on Paypal. The seller then advised me of a tracking number which I duly checked via the courier website.
Next day I was advised by the seller that the Paypal transaction had failed and he was arranging a refund of which Paypal notified me, some time later, by email. In order to secure the deal the seller then advised me that I needed to send him half the amount via MoneyGram which I duly did. Mug I hear you say...
24 hours later I got a mail from Paypal saying the refund had failed due to insufficient funds. I immediately raised a case with Paypal for non delivery of item. I contacted the seller who indicated that the Paypal account was being sorted and I had no need to worry. Unbelievably the seller then provided me with the log in details of his Paypal account so I could 'sort it'. I did a quick check and sure enough the account was 'limited' by Paypal and short of funds by $100. Next thing I get an email from the fake courier company saying I needed to pay 300 Euro in customs duty... Amazingly this needed to be paid in cash also. At this point I knew I was in trouble so played along saying I would pay the customs duty as soon as the refund arrived from Paypal.
I was hoping that the seller/fraud team would not contact Paypal within the 10 day response period and I would get my money back from Paypal. All the time I was in dialogue with the seller but thankfully today Paypal settled the case in my favour so now I am just £600 down and not £1800.
Please take my advice and do NOT under any circumstances pay cash for an unseen item. Amazingly in the last couple of days as the scam played out I had an email from a guy. Not unexpectedly the courier web site was unavailable today.
Please read this and learn from one guy's error. I attach a picture of the bike (which bizarrely was cut and pasted from the Sideburn Blog) and of the fraudulent courier website. The Wood Rotax in the photo is owned by another Sideburn reader and nothing to do with the scam. The Scammers just googled the bike and found it on our site).
The scammers :* *Gillen Statham: firstname.lastname@example.org* *Jose Willmon: email@example.com* *Lilian Bestman
The attempted scammers:* *Jensen Sorensen: *firstname.lastname@example.org *Mark Garret: email@example.com